Shaun of the Dead
Last week, as I am sure you are all tired of hearing, I was on a business trip. My Thursday flight was cancelled due to fog and I made the best of my delay by checking into the Sheraton Four Points at BWI Airport in Baltimore.
Bored, I clicked on the TV and didn't like anything playing. I broke down and rented one of the REMs (Real Expensive Movies) hotels have today. At $11.00 to $13.00 I usually don't bite, but boredom won out. I'd heard good things about "Shaun of the Dead" and it was cheaper than some other movies so I clicked the Select button.
I was nicely surprised. "Shaun" is a very British comedy dressed up as a Zombie flick. But, this is not a review for movie lovers, or zombie film aficionados. This is a gun nut review.
There are several scenes for us gunnies. Shaun and his friends take refuge from zombies in the Winchester Pub, which features an antique Winchester mounted over the bar (it looks to be a Model 92, but it is heavily engraved and I wasn't paying that much attention, so don't quote me).
Shaun's best friend, the layabout Ed, tells Shaun he knows the pub owner is "connected" and thinks the gun is real. Shaun says it must be deactivated, after all it is Britain. When Ed hands Shaun the rifle Shaun pulls the trigger and sends a bullet near Ed. Not bothered at all Ed says something to the effect, "See I told you he had connections."
Ed finds a partially full box of cartridges and there is a revealing interchange showing their common lack of gun knowledge. Shaun says we have 29 bullets, and Ed corrects him by saying, "It's shells." To me, it is cartridges since shotguns shoot shells, but it is England.
The five refugees have a gun, but no one has ever fired one before. All of them shrug as they compare experiences and Shaun, our hero, decides he will fire it. After all, he and Ed play a lot of first-person shooter video games. He gets on the job training with a real gun. His aim is hilariously bad although he puts down a few zombies (you have to destroy the brain).
Once zombies break into the pub, the survivors light the bar surface on fire to use the flames as a shield forgetting they had placed the cartridges on it. The rounds cook off and fortuitously kill an attacking zombie. I will grant the filmmakers some ignorance, but a cartridge needs the support of a gun's chamber for the bullet to launch fast enough to kill. Oh well, willing suspension of disbelief and all.
What struck me was the gun use in a modern British film. The characters have a wistful sadness as they admit to having never fired a gun. They all know now they would be better off if they could shoot.
There are lessons in this movie for the British and all of us gun nuts. Don't let yourself be disarmed. Don't run low on ammunition. Learn how to shoot. After all, you never know when zombies might attack (or mutants, goblins, burglars, robbers, etc.).
"Shaun of the Dead" is out on DVD. There are a few gory scenes, lots of variations on the word fuck, and the accents are a little heavy. I recommend it as a funny homage to the zombie genre, a movie with many memorable moments--or maybe I was just bored.